Personal Development for Entrepreneurs

Developing a More Approachable Leadership Style

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Developing a More Approachable Leadership Style

An approachable leadership style that is open, accessible, and empathetic is becoming increasingly critical for organizational success. With millennial and Gen Z employees now making up a majority of the workforce, the days of rigid, top-down leadership are dwindling.

Employees now expect leaders who will listen to their needs, welcome feedback and dialogue, and connect with them on a human level. The benefits of developing this type of approachable leadership are immense, including improved employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and performance. However, guidance on shifting towards a more relatable leadership approach remains scarce.

While many leaders recognize the need to change, they lack the frameworks, communication techniques and empathy-building skills to put it into practice.

In this blog article, we will provide actionable advice for leaders seeking to become more accessible to their teams. First, we will help assess your current leadership style and its impact. Next, concrete strategies around better communication, relationship-building and accessibility will be provided.

With relevant examples and addressing implementation challenges, this article aims to equip any leader with the tools to develop an open and compassionate approach that will profoundly transform their leadership and unlock their teams’ potential.

Understanding Your Current Leadership Style

The first step is identifying where you currently stand in terms of approachability. Every leader has innate tendencies and default behaviors that dictate their level of openness.

Begin by analyzing your communication patterns. Do you dominate conversations, or actively listen? Do people feel comfortable approaching you with problems and feedback? Now contemplate your empathy and concern for employees’ well-being. Do you take time to connect on a personal level and understand individual needs?

Finally, review your accessibility via physical availability, open-door policies, and responsiveness to requests and questions.

Assessing these dynamics can reveal gaps to address. It may be difficult to analyze your leadership objectively, so anonymous surveys and conversations with trusted colleagues can provide further insight. As themes emerge around communication weaknesses, lack of human connection or inaccessibility, recognize these as areas for growth rather than criticism. Every leader has room to improve – it simply requires intentional effort.

leadership

Building an Approachable Leadership Approach

With development areas identified, building a more relatable presence is achievable by improving communication, prioritizing relationships, and enhancing accessibility.

1. Communication

The foundation of approachability is communication. Leaders must perfect the art of open, transparent dialogue and active listening. This establishes trust and comfort approaching you with ideas and concerns.

First, actively listen with the intent to understand. Give your undivided attention when being addressed rather than multi-tasking or mentally formulating responses. Ask clarifying questions and restate key points to affirm understanding. Second, encourage reciprocal communication by frequently soliciting input and feedback.

This conveys all voices are valued in decision-making. Finally, communicate across multiple mediums like email, Slack, intranet forums and in-person conversations. This demonstrates you are accessible through employees’ preferred channels.

2. Empathy and Relationship Building

Along with improving communication mechanics, leaders must foster deeper social connections and empathy.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings focused on understanding team members’ priorities, challenges, goals and values on a human level. Get to know what motivates them professionally and personally. Recognize contributions and celebrate wins, no matter how small. This validating praise supports intrinsic motivation.

Also carve out time for informal social interactions through team lunches, holiday parties or volunteering activities. Facilitating camaraderie beyond work projects generates a shared identity and emotional connection to organizational purpose.

Developing a More Approachable Leadership Style

3. Accessibility and Availability

Finally, an approachable leader must remain accessible. An open-door policy allowing employees to voice concerns makes you far less intimidating. While still maintaining productivity, build in flexibility for impromptu conversations.

Also set the expectation that you are available outside of formal meetings. Respond promptly to messages, and avoid unreachable stretches without email, slack or text notification. Use video conferencing to conduct virtual face-to-face meetings if traveling.

Employees will be more likely to proactively share ideas if you dedicate time and attention demonstrating their perspectives matter.

4. Putting It Into Practice

Implementing a major leadership shift may seem daunting, but incremental, deliberate changes will compound.

Start small by picking one high-impact area, like more active listening or sending weekly recognition shoutouts. Schedule monthly check-ins your team to solicit constructive feedback.

Early skepticism can accompany major style changes. Counter reluctance by explaining the “why” behind your approach. Share examples of other leaders who successfully evolved into more empowering roles.

Finally, hold yourself accountable to maintain consistency. Leadership presence is built over years, not weeks. Progress may feel slow, but staying the course will produce profound cultural transformation.

Conclusion

Approachable leadership that conveys genuine human concern for employees represents the new imperative for organizational achievement. Prioritizing transparent communication, trust-based relationships and accessibility fundamentally alters dynamics between leaders and team members. The strategies outlined above offer the blueprint to begin developing a more open leadership approach.

With consistent, compassionate effort, leaders can dismantle outdated authoritarian structures in favor of supportive, engaging cultures where every employee feels comfortable contributing their talents. The result will be happier, dedicated teams and improved innovation and performance.

By putting these insights into practice, leaders can play their part in pioneering the modern, evolved form of leadership essential for the new era of business.